Tag Archives: comic books

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What Inspired Charlie & Clow?

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charlie and clow the case of the wendigo panel

Charlie & Clow, Charlie & Clow: The Bonus Arc, and The Case of the Wendigo all sprang from one initial idea I had when I was in college.

I want to say it was around 2009 or 2010 when I thought of the original story – in the original, Charlie wasn’t the main character. The story, instead, focused on a red-haired character named Margot.

Margot (pronounced “MAR-go”) was a lead singer in a punk band dating Charlie, who in this story was the lead guitarist. Charlie’s brother, Jared (who in this version was much beefier) was the drummer. All three made an appearance in my first minicomic, Breakfast for Dinner, which is now out of print (and will stay that way).

This version of the story, with Margot in the lead, had two drafts. In draft 1, Charlie was kidnapped by a demon and Margot had to team up with Jared and a guardian angel named Clow to go into the spirit world and rescue her. Draft 2 had the band narrowed down to Charlie and Margot, and both died in a car accident on their way to a gig, and Clow helps them navigate the spirit world.

I finished chapter 1 of both versions and dropped them. Because I didn’t like the directions they were going, which was that they had NO direction. There was no set end goal.

Plus, every time I went to make tweaks, I found myself drawn more towards Charlie than Margot. I wanted to know what Charlie was up to, and in my imagination, she was way more engaging and talkative than Margot ever was. Margot was secretive – Charlie was open and engaging. So I made her the lead.

Margot’s design stuck around, though – she was the inspiration for Claudia’s final design.

charlie and clow the case of the wendigo claudia

The two are very different in personality though. Margot was abrasive, crass, violent – very stereotypical punk. Claudia is more Gothic Lolita in look, but very mature and calm in demeanor.

Jared, Charlie’s brother, makes an appearance in Charlie & Clow: The Bonus Arc, but as an extra – and this time he’s a rock climbing instructor instead of a drummer.

charlie and clow the bonus arc comic strip jared

The drummer aspect was put into Rob, the drummer of Roxie’s band in the Validation bonus comics.

validation roxie bonus comics

So once I did the main character shift, I thumbnailed the first draft of Charlie & Clow…and I LOVED it! I had WAY more fun writing and drawing for it. Charlie was just the main character I was looking for, and the world she occupied was more interesting for me to explore.

charlie and clow comic page 12Of course, a more interesting world couldn’t be contained in only 24 pages. That’s why I made Charlie & Clow: The Bonus Arc, and now I’m making The Case of the Wendigo.

charlie and clow the case of the wendigo comic page 23I actually tried pitching the trilogy under one name to Oni Press, but got rejected – I think that was around the time that the company picked up comics like The Mighty Zodiac and Merry Men, though, so I can’t complain.

Besides, it was a learning experience, and helped me realize that the original pitch was pulling the story too long – the pitch had at least two chapters after The Case of the Wendigo, but I realized they were unnecessary. And by unnecessary, I mean that the characters (Charlie, Clow, and the rest) would have finished character arcs at the end of The Case of the Wendigo. So sequels after that were not needed.

In terms of the visual inspiration, I always wanted to make a comic about punks and goths. I love the fashion choices of both subcultures and always wanted to draw them. I also wanted to pull from my brief experiences in Chicago, but also use set locations from Wheeling, WV – in particular, the Bridge of Suicide Hill (which I talked about before).

The plot really came about after noticing something about urban fantasy as a genre – from Supernatural to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to the absurdly popular books on the shelves like Twilight, The Dresden Files, and others like them, I noticed one thing…

The characters in too many urban fantasy stories are white. There are so few black girls in them on the mainstream shelves.

THAT was a major starting point for the new draft – again, in my imagination, Charlie was much more open than Margot, and that was a huge plus, as well. I knew that if I wanted to make an urban fantasy story with a black girl lead, that lead was going to be Charlie.

The reason I’ve stuck with this story so long is because of Charlie – I love her as a character. I was inspired to make her because I knew two awesome ladies in college, who were the inspiration for her personality and skill sets. Charlie & Clow, the print book, is actually dedicated to both ladies: Natasha Burton and Tifah Lockhart. If either of you are reading this, thank you. You’re incredible!

I hope this shed some light into what inspires a story to come about – it can be very messy, and long, and lead to dead ends, but it’s all part of the journey. And I’m glad I took that journey, because it lead me to a badass main character and a story I MASSIVELY love to draw.

Thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

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The Wonderful Resource that is Paper Cat Press

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long haired black cat
I don’t have any ready-to-post sketches of cats, so have a picture of my cat Scarlet.

I wish I had known about this site back at the end of February, when I got laid off from my day job and transitioned to making comics and art full-time. It would have made life easier.

But at least I found it now!

Paper Cat Press is a handy dandy website that aggregates links and shares new ones once a week. These links are for…

  • Calls for Submissions
  • New KickStarter Campaigns
  • New Webcomic Debuts
  • Grants and Scholarships
  • Workshops and Residencies

And a whole bunch of other stuff, all geared specifically towards comics artists and illustrators! All I can say is…

THANK THE GODS.

So in case you couldn’t tell, I am currently on the lookout for new opportunities for comics-making work.

Don’t get me wrong – the KickStarter for the Validation buttons has finished up just a few days ago. We far surpassed the asking goal of $100 and got $826 in funding! Holy banana pants!

But that money is specifically for KickStarter stuff – for fulfillment of orders and printing up the buttons we were raising funds for (and a sketchbook we unlocked as one of the stretch goals). That money will NOT go towards bills or food until all the backers have their rewards. And that could take a little while.

So that’s why I’m REALLY glad for sites like Paper Cat Press. They’re going to make looking for a paid gig SO much easier.

The first thing I’m going to apply for is a grant. Why? Because I want/need to take a residency at a comics place in Pittsburgh so I can do on-location research for Traveler’s Road, the story of two ladies traveling through a post-apocalyptic United States to find a lost friend. The lost friend in this story is supposed to be in Pittsburgh. I don’t live in the city, so I would REALLY like to just take a weekend, stay there, and draw what I need for the story. The grant can cover room and board, and if there’s enough left over, gas and art supplies.

However, I DID find another, different micro-grant (it’s micro because the grant is less than $1000, the usual minimum given in a grant). This micro-grant is called the Cupcake Award, and it’s given in association with CAKE – the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo. I’ll try for that grant first.

Wish me luck!

Thanks for Reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

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What I’m Reading At the Moment

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Yes, this is pre-haircut me. I can barely tolerate the floppy hair in this video.

Today’s vlog is all about the books I’m reading at this point in time. However, I have added one new book since I recorded this episode: “In My Own Way” by Alan Watts. I’m almost done with that book, so I’ll be making a Review Day Tuesday of it soon!

So what are you reading right now? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Thanks for watching.

You. Are. Awesome.

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These Updates Brought to You By Ukulele

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(This video was recorded January 17, 2017)

All the relevant links I mentioned:

Validation

Validation‘s Patreon Page

The Case of the Wendigo

My Patreon Page (especially for The Case of the Wendigo)

Storenvy (to get my comics, minicomics, prints, miniprints, etc)

Thoughtful Dinosaur KickStarter Page

Sign up for my email newsletter to find out when I can do commissions for you

The Thomcast

WheezyWaiter

My Review of Heart of Darkmeat

The next vlog update will be after Feb 23rd. Any comics-related news from me will be on this here blog.

Thank you for watching!

You. Are. Awesome.

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What Is The Case of the Wendigo?

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Let us rewind to Charlie & Clow.

CharlieandClow_cover_new_small

Charlie & Clow is the story of Charlie, a college student who is walking home from class one day when she encounters a demon. She partners up with Clow, a mysterious goth man, and together they save each other and the city from this supernatural threat.

It was a black-and-white webcomic that aired on October 29, 2014 and then became a book on Storenvy.

Then came the follow-up adventure in 2015, Charlie & Clow: The Bonus Arc. This was the story of life with the punky duo that newsletter subscribers got to read until it, too, was gathered into a book.

charlie and clow the bonus arc cover

On October 18th (next Tuesday), the final installment of Charlie & Clow, The Case of the Wendigo will launch…and unlike the previous two chapters, this new chapter in the story will be in FULL COLOR.

case of the wendigo promo

I’m really stinking excited for this new chapter because there will be romance, and new haircuts, and rogueishly handsome demons, and cosplay, and music, and OH MY GOSH I’m looking forward to making this!

Patrons on Patreon will get to not only see comic updates a day early, but also see how the comic gets made. So if you want to subscribe to The Case of the Wendigo, just check back on the Charlie & Clow site. If you want to SUPER subscribe, check out the Patreon.

Again, the story launches October 18th. Get hyped!

Thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

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